Friday, 27 April 2012

NBN: Why we need to run fibre into every home.

At 'Comms Day' 2012, Malcolm Turnbull asked: [more audio]
"Why do we need to run fibre into every home?"
We aren't building a network for 2010, but one able to easily handle the demands of 2020 and upgradeable as needed during its 25-30 year life.

There are 3 reasons we "need to run fibre into every home", beside the obvious [3G/4G networks are perfect for mobile devices and exactly wrong for fixed services]:
There is also a wild-card:
Just what will Apple come up with in 2013 to follow on from the iPhone in 2007 and iPad in 2010.
Will it be "TV done right" as Walter Isaacson implies, or something closer to the "Knowledge Navigator"? Either way, we're likely to see yet another bandwidth demand explosion driven by Apple.

For the Coalition to insist that "the market will build anything we need" is amazing in its ignorance, arrogance and self-delusion.

For Turnbull to suggest that a shared Fibre-to-the-Node solution is even possible with the incumbent Telcos is absurd and disingenuous, given his background owning an ISP.

Wireless networks aren't just a good, but perfect match for mobile devices, but worst-case for fixed-line.

The "single shared channel" of wireless networks:
  • suffer congestion so are not for "heavy lifting", but are good for light, intermittent use.
  • drop-outs, black-spots, link/equip failure (towers are lightning rods) cause outages and lower availability.
For this reason, wireless networks are 3-4 "nines" [1 in 1,000-10,000 availability] at best.
Compared to the 5-6 nines from PSTN and Fibre.

When you want it to absolutely work every time,  all the time and consistently "do what it says on the tin"  in terms of performance, you want a wireline service.

Fibre-to-the-Node is almost as reliable and available of Fibre-to-the-Premise because there is an extra interface in there: fibre to copper.
There's the extra xDSL equipment for copper, the extra terminations and cable patches, higher intra-cable interference and, more subtly, the additional damage and service outage risk to node and CPE (Customer Premises Equipment) from lightning strikes. 1 km long wires, even underground, are great aerials. They'll capture a nearby strike and zip a few thousand volts up to either end. Something optical fibre is immune from...

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